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Expert Answers to Pathologist Questions on New Biomarkers for Precision Therapy in Lung Cancer

In this podcast episode, listen to Nathan Pennell, MD, PhD, a medical oncologist, and Laura J. Tafe, MD, a molecular pathologist, as they answer questions from a clinician audience on best practices when testing for actionable mutations in NSCLC.
Nathan Pennell, MD, PhD
Laura J. Tafe, MD
Released: December 28, 2020

In this episode, Nathan Pennell, MD, PhD, and Laura J. Tafe, MD, provide medical oncology and pathology perspectives, respectively, when answering questions from a clinician audience on topics including:

  • Next steps in patient care after identifying a biomarker: selecting treatment, getting insurance approval, arranging for financial assistance
  • Performing biomarker testing on cytology vs surgical or anatomic pathology specimens
  • Factors affecting turnaround time when testing liquid biopsy vs tissue specimens
  • Choice of a targeted agent vs chemotherapy plus immunotherapy for first-line treatment of patients with RET fusions, BRAF mutations, or MET exon 14 skipping
  • Concordance between IHC and FISH or NGS for ALK rearrangements
  • Use of fluid cytology specimens when testing for fusions in RET or NTRK and MET amplification
  • Cost considerations with performing multiple single-gene assays vs upfront NGS
  • Testing for driver mutations in early-stage NSCLC
  • Developing institutional workflows to enable pathologists to order reflex molecular testing panels


Nathan Pennell, MD, PhD
Director, Cleveland Clinic Lung Cancer Medical Oncology Program
Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology
Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute
Cleveland, Ohio

Laura J. Tafe, MD
Associate Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
Lebanon, New Hampshire
The Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
Hanover, New Hampshire


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